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International Environmental Law Project (IELP)

Orion Cruz ’12

Cruz recently became the Assistant Attorney General in Palau. In this role he is supporting the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism on legal, policy and regulatory matters related to biosecurity, sustainable tourism and protected areas such as the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

The protection of marine ecosystems has been one of Cruz’s primary concerns for the past few years, and as a world leader in marine conservation efforts, he states that Palau is a great fit for him.

As Assistant Attorney General, Cruz is primarily writing legal opinions and drafting laws and regulations, including Palau’s first set of tourism regulations. He is also clarifying legal uncertainty surrounding parts of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, looking into ways to reduce Palau’s dependence on food imports andassisting in the creation of an oceanic fisheries management plan.

The professors that had the largest impact on Cruz were Melissa Powers, Erica Lyman, Chris Wold and Nicholas Fromherz.

“The International Environmental Law Program (IELP)  was one of the most important parts of my law school experience and it made it clear to me that, if it was possible, I wanted to do work related to international environmental law and policy,” Cruz said. “Without IELP’s Erica Lyman and Chris Wold, my career path could easily have been different.” He notes that Adjunct Professor Fromherz was a valued mentor and gave him the idea to work in Palau.

“If I had gone to a different type of law school, I don’t think I would have ended up being as prepared for the type of work I’m doing.” Cruz said.